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Source: Ara Ake

New Zealand will be the first country in the world to receive solar panels from Dutch start-up Solarge – the most circular, lightweight solar panels ever produced.
Ara Ake, Aotearoa’s Future Energy Centre, will receive the first international shipment next month. The panels will be installed on its New Plymouth premise supplying circa 15-kWp to its operation.
The Weert-based Solarge manufacturing facility is significant to New Zealand due to the innovative, light-weight technology in its panels which are ideal for roofs with limited carrying capacity.
Solarge solar panels are fully sustainably designed, made of high-quality lightweight materials and can be reused at the end of their lifespan (of 25 years) in the production of new solar panels.
Ara Ake Chief Executive, Cristiano Marantes, says the partnership is important, as it puts New Zealand at the forefront of circular solar technology.
“There’s enormous potential in solar as a low-carbon energy solution, so it’s fantastic to be able to test the potential of this lightweight, circular product at our ‘home’ first and demonstrates emerging technologies in action,” he said.
The opportunity follows a collaborative meeting between Hon. Megan Woods, and Netherlands’ Minister for Energy, Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Rob Jetten, at the Global Clean Energy Action Forum in Pittsburgh, United States, last year.
Energy and Resources Minister, Hon. Megan Woods, says that while solar uptake in New Zealand and globally has increased significantly over the past decade, breakthroughs will see them rolled out even further.
“To accelerate our transition to a renewable energy future, we need to identify and adopt international innovative solutions where it makes sense,” she said.
Solarge offers an efficient and innovative solution for generating renewable energy. It combines state-of-the-art polymer and solar technologies and it is PFAS free (non-toxic).
Solarge CEO, Jan Vesseur, says “We are very pleased to be working with Ara Ake to install the first commercial project outside of the Netherlands. It proves the point that lightweight solar is an asset of global relevance. More importantly, gradually more people believe that circular products should be the standard for the future. That applies to solar PV panels and Solarge panels are fully circular. The enthusiasm of the Ara Ake team fills us with endless energy.”
The installation at Ara Ake represents the beginning of a new partnership, which may extend to establishing a local manufacturing facility in New Zealand in the medium-term.
About Ara Ake
Ara Ake is Aotearoa New Zealand’s future energy centre. New Zealand Government-sponsored, it is focused on accelerating New Zealand’s transition to a low-emissions energy future. Ara Ake is the national hub of new energy knowledge and development, connecting and collaborating with many different parts of the energy ecosystem. Ara Ake collaborates across the energy ecosystem to enable energy solutions to become commercially viable, to support the decarbonisation of Aotearoa New Zealand.
About Solarge
Solarge was founded in Eindhoven in 2018 and has been based in Weert since last year. The company makes the energy transition more sustainable and with its unique products the company focuses on buildings with a limited load-bearing capacity on their roofs. The lightweight products that Solarge makes can be placed on these roofs without drastic roof reinforcement.